Excerpts from the
August 10, 2019 edition of
The FOSTER Letter—Religious
Navigating Pastoral Change Every
pastor is an interim pastor. A new Barna report examines how
churches navigate pastoral change and stay healthy amidst the shift.
Barna grouped pastoral successions into 3 major types based on the
circumstances directing the leadership change. The 1st is
planned transitions, which are
planned in advance of the change (17%); 2nd is
pastor-initiated transitions, set
into motion by a decision from the outgoing pastor (62%) and the 3rd
is forced transitions,
triggered by unexpected circumstances such as illness, death or
crisis (13%). 15% of pastors
from the senior pastor role and move into a co-pastor or associate
pastor role. 20% withdraw
from the senior pastor role into lay leadership or regular
congregation membership and 56%
congregation entirely. When a transition is planned in advance, more
than half of outgoing pastors stick around, either as a staff or lay
member. Planned transitions tend to produce the most positive
outcomes, especially when the congregation is involved in the
process. It can smooth the leadership shift and produce more
positive outcomes for everyone involved. When a congregation plans
long before a transition is initiated, it can shorten the overall
time of a transition once the process is launched.
Trusting in God’s Faithfulness
LifeWay Research’s 2019 Discipleship Pathway Assessment study
found 72% of Protestant churchgoers disagree with the statement:
“During difficult circumstances, I sometimes doubt that God loves me
and will provide for my life,” with 50% strongly disagreeing and 5%
strongly agreeing, 13% somewhat agreeing and 10% neither agree nor
disagree. 36% of Protestant churchgoers strongly agree they make
everything they own available to God, while 33% somewhat agree, 20%
neither agree nor disagree and 10% disagree. Females (39%) are more
likely than males (32%) to strongly agree. 73% disagree with the
statement, “I sometimes doubt that God can change the lives of
non-Christians I know,” while 50% strongly disagree, 11% neither
agree nor disagree and 17% doubt God’s ability to do so. 14% say
they “typically doubt God is involved when things happen in their
lives they can’t explain,” 71% disagree and 44% strongly disagree.
(Fact s & Trends 7/16/19)
Bible Tax Avoided
Bibles and religious literature
currently are no longer subject to the upcoming 10% tariff hike set
to be imposed on goods imported from China, set to begin 9/1/19.
Previously, Bibles were among the items to see a price increase as
part of the growing trade war between the U.S. and China.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has released 2 lists
of the items, those that will be subject to the tariff in September
and those whose tariffs will be postponed until 12/15/19. Religious
literature, including the Bible, are no longer on either list.
Currently China is home to the world’s largest Bible printing
company and more than 75% of Bibles are printed there.
(Baptist Press 8/14/19)
New Revenue Streams I can help you
maximize existing revenue sources or discover brand new ones
compatible with your vision and resources. Contact 419-238-4082,
Clergy Viewed Less Positively A new
NORC/AP poll shows doctors, teachers, members of the military, even
scientists, are viewed more positively than clergy. The less
frequently people attend church, the more negative their views.
Among those who attend less than once a month, only 42% said they
had a positive view of clergy members, a rate comparable to lawyers
who rank near the bottom of the list of professions. While frequent
church attenders still hold clergy in high regard, about 75% viewed
them positively, giving them only passing grades on a number of
personal attributes. Only 52% of monthly churchgoers consider clergy
trustworthy vs. 23% among those who attend less than once a month.
57% said they were honest and intelligent vs. 30% among infrequent
attenders. The survey confirms previous studies. Historians say
public attitudes about clergy have been waning since the 1970s.
Older Generations in the U.S. are
more likely to identify with and practice Christianity, according to
Barna Research data. Elders are
the most likely adult generation to self-identify as Christian
(83%). Boomers are close behind at 80% followed by Gen X at 73% and
Millennials at just 64%. The same is true among the more committed
category of practicing Christians (Christians who attend church
every month and say their faith is very important in their lives).
37% of Elders practice their faith in this way vs. 30% of Boomers,
26% of Gen X and 22% of Millennials.
Why People Don’t Read the Bible
According to Barna Research, the top 4 reasons
people don’t read the Bible are:
•Lack of time. •The language is
difficult. •They don’t get excited to read it. • They don’t
understand the background or history.
Bible as Literal or Inspired Word of
God Presented with 5 different ways of describing the Bible,
more adults believe the Bible is inspired (with some symbolism) than
literal. A plurality of Americans believe the Bible is the inspired
word and is without errors, yet some verses are meant to be symbolic
rather than literal, a view held by 30%. The second most common
belief is the Bible is the actual word of God and should be taken
literally, word for word (22%). An equal number believe the Bible is
just another book of teachings written by men that contains stories
and advice (21%) leaving 17% who believe it is inspired but contains
factual or historical errors and 10% that it is not inspired by God
but tells how the writers understood the ways and principles of God.
The younger a person is the more likely he or she is to say the
Bible is just another book of teachings written by men. 27% of
Millennials believe this vs. 21% of Gen X, 18% of Boomers and 14% of
Elders. (State of the Bible
2019, American Bible Society)
Fact Vs. Values Relentless
repetition was once enough to drive your message home. Not anymore!
Fact-based state-ments can be proven or disproven objectively. But
the “truth” of a values-based statement hinges on agreed-upon
values. Modern advertising overflows with values-based statements,
e.g. “Big selection,” “High quality,” “Low prices,” “Easy credit.”
Even though they may be true in the mind of the advertiser, the
public has heard them all before. The left hemispheres of our brains
detect and prefer fact-based statements.
Today we are hype-immune and hunger for statements of fact.
To persuade today’s hype-resistant customer, you must learn to make
fact-based statements in your ads.
I can help you make sure your ads are not just repeating
clichés but clearly delivering meaningful facts that will deliver
results. All you have to do is contact me at 419-238-4082,
(Monday Morning Memo 9/26/05, Foster Network)
Faith Practice Across Generations
Among self-identified Christians overall, Elders and Boomers lead in
reporting a weekly habit of prayer (84% each), followed by Gen X
(82%) and Millennials (78%). Practicing Christians are almost twice
as likely as self-identified Christians to have read the Bible in
the last 7 days, with Millennials and Boomers reporting the top
percentages (71% each). Practicing Christians’ weekly attendance is
also double that of the average Christian. The proportion decreases
marginally from Elders (83%) and Boomers (81%) to Gen X (77%) and
Does Life Have Meaning? A new
United Kingdom survey shows an overwhelming 89% of 16-29 year-olds
believe life has no purpose or meaning. Answers In Genesis’ Ken Ham
says it can be directly attributed to the decline of Christianity in
the country along with the teaching of evolutionary theory. This
compares to 55% of those over 60 who believe the same. Only 2% of
18-24s are affiliated with the Church of England. Among all age
groups, 80% in Britain said life has no meaning or purpose.
Opportunities of Service 74% of regular Protestant
churchgoers see their acts of service as a way to also get to know
others. 33% strongly agree that when they have the opportunity to
serve someone, they also try to get to know the person better.
Women (35%) are more likely to strongly agree than men, as
are regular churchgoers with less than a college degree (36%) vs.
those who have a bachelor’s degree or higher (29%).
Those who attend worship services 4 times a month or more
(35%) are more likely to strongly agree than those who attend less
frequently (28%). (Outreach
Conversations According to LifeWay Research’s 2019
Discipleship Pathway Assessment, 15% of U.S. Protestant
churchgoers strongly assert that matters of faith are a part of
their regular conversations with fellow believers.
In total, 39% disagreed with the statement: “Spiritual
matters do not tend to come up as a normal part of my daily
conversations with other Christians.”
26% aren’t sure while 35% agree that when they talk with other
Christians, religious issues don’t usually come up.
Females (17%) are more likely than males (11%) to strongly
indicate they regularly have conversations with other Christians
about spiritual matters. Evangelical
Protestants (17%) and black Protestants (15%) are also more likely
than mainline Protestants (7%) to strongly affirm faith issues that
come up in their daily conversations.
There’s a Rise in Cyberbullying
nationwide, with 3 times as many girls reporting being harassed
online or by text message than boys, according to a U.S. Department
of Education study. Many school systems that once had a hands-off
approach to dealing with off-campus student behavior are now making
cyberbullying rules, outlining punishments such as suspension or
expulsion. The survey found 1 in 5 students reported being bullied;
ranging from rumors or being excluded, to threats and physical
attacks in the ’16-’17 school year. That’s unchanged from the
previous survey done in ’14-’15. But in that 2-year span,
cyberbullying reports increased from 11.5% to 15.3%. Broken down by
gender, 21% of girls in middle and high school reported being
bullied online or by text message in the ’16-’17 school year vs.
less than 7% of boys. (AP
Far Reaching Effects of Regular Bible
Reading A ’16 LifeWay Research study of churchgoing Protestant
parents, found regular Bible reading as a child was the biggest
factor in predicting the spiritual health of young adults.
Their latest survey finds Bible reading as an adult has similar
far-reaching effects. When churchgoers were asked if they
find them-selves thinking about biblical truths throughout the day,
32% of Protestant churchgoers strongly agree, 12% disagree and 20%
aren’t sure. In total, 69% at least somewhat agree. 33% of
Protestant churchgoers strongly agree they desperately miss the time
with God if they go several days without reading the Bible while 58%
at least somewhat agree, 20% disagree and 22% neither agree nor
disagree. The more regular the Bible reading habit, the more likely
churchgoers are to say they miss that time with God.
(Baptist Press 7/2/19)
Planning Pays “There are two areas
in finance where world-class organizations have actually increased
spending relative to revenues. One of those is compliance and the
second is planning and analysis,” says Bryan Hall, a Hackett Group
finance consultant. I can help you craft and monitor your plan.
are familiar with some of the
basics of Christianity and even know a few facts about Islam. But
fewer get questions right about Judaism, Hinduism or Buddhism.
8 in 10 U.S. adults know in the Christian tradition, Easter
commemorates the resurrection of Jesus – rather than the
Crucifixion, the Ascension to heaven or the Last Supper. A similar
share know the Christian doctrine of the Trinity holds there is one
God in 3 persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And 6 in 10 know
Ramadan is an Islamic holy month and that Mecca is Islam’s holiest
city. However, just 25% know Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year.
18% know that the “truth of suffering” is part of Buddhism’s 4
“noble truths” and 15% correctly identify the Vedas as Hindu texts.
(Pew Research 7/23/19)
Zombie Eaters The average American
is spending more time staring at a screen than ever before. A new
survey of adults found a whopping 88% are so-called “zombie eaters”
who stare at some type of screen while eating. In fact, the average
U.S. eater will stare at their phone twice over the course of any
given meal and will only have 5 screen-free meals per week. 91% of
respondents reported watching TV while eating a meal or snack and
49% say they do so on a regular basis. 83% have had food go cold
while they deliberate on what to watch and 86% have even forgotten
to eat their meal because they were preoccupied by a screen.
(Study Finds 7/24/19)
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